A Tale of Lost Love

Asics Cumulus 10s and I had a long-term love affair.  I bought my first pair in September of 2008 after a round of shin splints in my first pair of department store cheapies. When I’d explained to the gal in the running store that I have medium to high arches, am a neutral runner who likes a lot of cushion and require a wide toe box and a tight ankle, she nodded knowingly and headed back into the mysterious stock room to bring out her wares.

The first box I opened was the Asics Cumulus 10’s. They were white with red and silver details. Not my first choice for color since I’m more of a pink fan, but I tried them on.  The second my feet were cushioned in those aptly  named cloud shoes, I looked up in awe and said, “I don’t know where you went in the back of that stock room, but you found my heaven-on-earth in a size 8.5!”

The price was nearly identical to what I paid for my wedding dress in 1997 – but it was worth every penny to see my feet so giddy, so I plunked down my $95 and jogged off into the sunset with my new shoes!

And, it was love that was meant to last. I ran the first pair into the ground, then bought another, then another and so on until I’d accumulated 7 identical pairs of these shoes – all of them red and white and silver — still not my favorite colors — but they were so perfect for my feet I couldn’t bear the thought of trying anything else – not even the newer models. When my running partner showed up in the Cumulus 11’s, I gasped! How could she betray the 10’s like that?!  Not me. No way. I searched high and low in shoe stores far and wide for my shoes. Like a pirate after treasure, I hunted them down on ebay and on the internet, delighted each time I succeeded and found one more pair of brand new Asics Cumulus 10’s — even after they released the 12’s model!

The 10’s got me through my first 3 marathons, my first 2 ultra marathons and 2 ultra attempts that didn’t go as planned. I put more than 3,000 miles on those 7 pairs of shoes and never developed a single blister! They were clunky and big, they even scraped up the back of my heels so bad in my first marathon, I was bleeding all over them — but it didn’t matter. I bought taller socks and our close-knit relationship continued.

That is.. until now.  It’s over. I’ve looked everywhere. There really are no more pairs of my beloved shoes anywhere in the world in my size. I knew this day would come. It’s time to move on.

I visited my local shoe store this week, finally ready to even try on the Cumulus 12s. I’d seen them on the internet in pretty colors – minty green and turquoise and even purple or pink online! Maybe this would be a dream-come-true!  I saw my size on the shelf and snatched them up, paid for them and took them home without even trying them on first. I joked to the lady, “I’ve been wearing these shoes for years. I really don’t need to try them on.” I was wrong.  The shoe’s been compromised! The toe box is tighter. Ugh! The heel is looser! NOOOOO! All of the features I had come to adore had been altered.

I returned them. Then the real work began. After being in a monogamous shoe relationship for so many years, I really didn’t even know where to start.  I stared apprehensively at the long wall of running shoes. It was like speed dating. Give them a once-over look, top-to-bottom, slide them on the foot and take a little test jog around people eyeballing you funny. Nope. Too tight. Too baggy. Too ugly. Too stiff. Too much support. Not enough support. Too expensive. And, never, ever finding that same love-match I’d experienced 2 1/2 years ago.

I finally settled on a pretty pair of purple, black and silver Nike Torch Air Max.  They seemed close to what I was looking for — at least in my 3 minute jog through the bicycle department.

I took those shoes on their first road run today. I’m not smitten. My toes felt numb. That darn toe box is just not as roomy as my Cumulus 10’s were. I pulled the laces out and redid them so that there is less pressure on the top of my foot. I hope that helps. I’ll try them that way on the next run and let you know how it goes.

For now… I’ll just have to close my eyes and remember back to the times when it was just me and my Asics Cumulus 10’s, light-heartedly running through the Boise foothills or through the countryside or along the beach of the Pacific Ocean on vacation. We had some really beautiful times together. I’ll miss you forever!! XOXOXO

Stats: 3 miles. Pace: 9:58. Total Time: 29:58. Felt: Slow

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